Home / National News / Tennessee family captures very close encounter with black bear outside their hotel room in viral video

 

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) —  A Tennessee family recently had a run-in with an unexpected visitor while in the Smoky Mountains — a black bear.

The Vastola family claimed to see the bear with their own eyes when it showed up near the front porch of their hotel room at the Quality Inn-Creekside.

“He’s on our front porch. Mr. Bear is right here,” Kim Vastola says in the video she posted on her Facebook page March 14.

The Quality Inn-Creekside in downtown Gatlinburg told ABC News that black bears are common to the area, as the hotel sits in the middle of the Smoky Mountains, and about a mile away from the gates to The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

“I was shocked first of all. I thought I cannot believe this thing is around people,” Vastola told ABC affiliate WATE. The hotel claimed it does warn guests of the possibility of seeing bears in the area.

In the second video, taken by Vastola’s husband, the bear can be seen walking alongside the hotel carrying a bag. “Holy cow,” says a man in the video.

Michael Butler, CEO of Tennessee Wildlife Federation, told ABC News these encounters are happening more as businesses build near wildlife habitats.

“And as we build more and more into and next to high-quality wildlife habitat, occurrences like these have become more frequent,” Butler said in a statement. “This is doubly true in this case because we’ve seen black bear populations rebounding to healthy levels over the past 30 years.”

Butler reminds people to never approach any wild animal, and call a wildlife officer if you see one near people.

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